When feeling worn out, rotate

A few days ago, when my wife and I were attending to our three kids, I suddenly remembered a movie I saw about an inline speed skating competition. In that sport (which I don’t practice myself), the athletes use their rollerblades to skate in a skating rink multiple times. Again, again and then again. When doing so, they wear out their wheels in an asymmetric manner.

For example:

(Image taken from How to redistribute worn inline skate wheels by Chris Young)

You can see from the image how one side of the wheel is worn out much more than the other.

Takeaway for parenting

I started this post with saying that I remembered this when my wife and I were attending to our kids. This was after I was preparing our middle kid for sleep. It was hard and tedious. My wife then suggested that we should rotate kids. She wanted me to take the youngest kid, and she’ll continue with the middle one. I didn’t want to do that - but that’s because I was too stubborn to take her up on her offer.

Takeaway for work

At work, there are multiple types of tasks that need to be done. Coding, writing, code-reviewing, etc. Some task types are more draining to me than others. I find myself move from one to another, just to get refreshed - but also to make more progress overall. I usually start my day with code reviewing - to unblock others first. Then, I move into reading or writing (communication bits from/to co-workers, documents, etc) which is more draining to me. Finally, if there’s time and prioritized coding tasks - I’ll do that, as those make me feel more energized.

The analogy

In speed racing, athletes rotate their wheels to those could be worn out in a different manner.

Even though you need to continue to move forward, whether it’s with getting kids ready to bed, or complete more task at work, changing things up after a while makes things easier. You can keep the overall momentum going while refreshing yourself by attending to different needs of a different child or by doing a different type of task at work.